Nationalist Kishida seeks to increase military spending: China, Russia, and debt
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan seeks to increase military expenditure dramatically. Thus, the endless mountain of debt, emanating from over three decades of mainly limited to static economic growth, looks set to continue under Kishida. Therefore, instead of focusing on his alleged “new capitalism,” Kishida is obsessed with his anti-Russia and anti-China rhetoric.
Since the former leader Barack Obama set in motion his containment policy of China, this spurred on nationalists within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hence, the current Kishida administration – similar to the Yoshihide Suga administration – is isolating itself further within Northeast Asia. This concerns both administrations being overtly anti-China and Kishida also being overtly anti-Russia.
Junichiro Koizumi (2001-2006) altered the discourse of anti-Northeast Asia and obsessively pro-America during his term in office. Thus Koizumi’s petty nationalism in visiting Yasukuni Shrine created regional tensions with China and South Korea. Other nations were also upset by his stance. This regards the war criminal angle that the ruling party fully understands (one can imagine the outcry in the European Union if Germany interned its respective war criminals inside a holy religious area and then politicians prayed and showed respect).
Bizarrely, the ruling political elites in the LDP aim their nationalism at China. Of course, under Kishida, he also aims Japanese nationalism at the Russian Federation. However, China nurtured Japanese culture in the distant past enormously and was never a threat to the people of Japan. Indeed, religious holy people from both nations visited each other and helped to cement mutual ties and respect. Therefore, it is ironic that the LDP is almost slavish concerning Koizumi, Abe, Suga, and the current leader Kishida toward America.
After all, what nation did the carpet bombing of Tokyo (and other cities), Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? Yes, the same nation that did gunboat diplomacy in the nineteenth century. Hence, how LDP nationalism incorporates pro-America is really strange.
Concerning debt and before Kishida met Biden, Modern Tokyo Times reported, “Japan holds the highest ratio of debt in the world – and will hold grand talks with America, which owns the biggest debt in the world. The ratio of debt in Japan is shockingly 260% of GDP. However, despite three decades of aggressive fiscal spending by the government, the nation is mired by low economic growth, static wages, weak inflation, sluggish productivity rates, females still facing enormous discrimination within senior management structures, and the population is declining and graying.”
Despite the above, Kishida is more focused on doubling the military expenditure of Japan rather than on the countless ills that have blighted this country in recent decades. Thus, in the short term – at the very least – he will burden the nation with more debt. Also, his policy will further isolate Japan in Northeast Asia by doing the twin bidding of Biden and Japanese nationalism within the ruling LDP.
Areas including static wages, a welfare safety net that is inadequate, the low birth rate, pension concerns, and so forth – are all neglected, apart from the usual spurt of a new government stimulus package that will fail as others have done. Indeed, many elderly workers (in their late 60s, 70s, and over) are still working because of economic shortages and the fear of their future. Of course, some elderly workers prefer to work than retire. However, for vast numbers, they have few options – also, given the low birth rate, many are employed concerning cheap labor – similar to the rise of temporary workers in Japan that became noticeable after Koizumi was elected.
Shamelessly, Kishida said, “We must discuss what is needed to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.” No, the economic angle – including several hundred thousand suicide deaths in the last 30 years related to economic concerns, overwork, and diminished hopes of a bright future is what ordinary people worry about.
The Abe’s, Biden’s, Kishida’s, Blair’s, Clinton’s, Koizumi’s, Obama’s, and others that have got rich via the political system don’t need to worry about their pensions or future. Hence, the economic convulsions of Covid-19 and heavy sanctions on the Russian Federation will make not a jot of difference to the political elites above. Therefore, the individuals that are still in political power (or within the circle of power): utilize taxes for their geopolitical ambitions by pushing the anti-China and anti-Russia mantra.
The former leader of Japan, Abe, said, “It is a matter of course to secure defense outlays of 2% of the GDP. The will of the state needs to be shown in the basic policy.”
Some in the Finance Ministry are concerned about financing the proposed increase, which Abe and Kishida allude to concerning the need to double the military expenditure. Thus, the Finance Ministry wants more concrete economic proposals – on how to generate the funds to increase the military expenditure so sharply. Especially given the fragile economy and enormous amount of debt that Japan holds.
Kyodo News reports, “Over 10,000 food items in Japan will experience price increases of an average 13 percent this year as a result of rising materials costs and the yen’s rapid depreciation, a survey by a credit research firm showed Wednesday.”
If Japan – and other nations are not careful – then stagflation awaits. Hence, Japan needs to focus on economics – rather than Kishida’s anti-China, anti-Russia, and military expenditure mantra.
However, it appears that Abe (more open to Russia during his leadership but staunchly pro-Taiwan), Suga, and the current leader Kishida – are all intent on dragging Japan into America’s Tripple Web of regional entanglement. This concerns increased military expenditure, endangering the nation by being overtly anti-China and anti-Russia, and Japan being the American base to divide Northeast Asia.
In the past, LDP leaders built bridges with regional nations and focused on economics above all other concerns. It is hoped that the ruling party will look at what America did to North Africa and the Middle East (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen – and the convulsions that continue today and how the Sahel felt this) – how Biden threw civil society in Afghanistan under a bus – and now America is stoking the war in Ukraine and the Russian and Russian speaking areas of the Donbas (Donbass).
Japan is on a negative path concerning debt and military entanglement on the whims of America. Thus politicians in the LDP that are not nationalist nor pro-America to an extreme (still support cordial relations with America but from an independent point of view) – need to reclaim the legacy of Yoshida Shigeru and not petty nationalism that serves the current agenda of America concerning Biden’s anti-China and anti-Russian Federation policies.
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